Last January I bought a pair of Columbia’s Peakfreaks–I was in desperate need of new hiking shoes since my old running shoes were not doing a very good job of protecting my feet from the rocks found in desert hiking. I spent a ton of time browsing Columbia’s offerings and rejected most as either too lightweight or too heavy.
I spend a lot of time traveling off trail and therefore are always weighing the pros and cons of a lightweight trail running shoe with something a little more robust that protects my feet and ankles from rocks. I found that the Peakfreaks really fit the bill. The “welded synthetic overlays” took a little bit of abuse and are a little bit frayed but nothing has impacted the use of the shoe at all. I had a blog post all written up to tell you about how wonderful these lovely shoes were but then I went to Columbia’s webpage to get a link and they were gone.
I retired the post to the trashbin of the internet and pouted a bit. I should have stocked up!
A few months ago, however, the new version: the Peakfreak XCRSN XCEL showed up. I immediately set about procuring myself a pair. (And not just any pair but one in this AMAZING non-girly “corange/fission” combo.)
They arrived, I marveled at their beauty and then they sat in my closet waiting for me to quit it with the #damselNOTindistress nonsense and get back out in the mountains. Just like their predecessors, they’re amazing. First, I get complements on the good looking shoes all the time.
Second, and most important, they’re exactly what I was looking for: they’re comfortable, lightweight, and my feet do not take a beating when I’m scrambling around on talus or rocks. I haven’t made a direct comparison between the soles of the two versions but in my handful of hikes in the new ones (and many hikes in the old) I think the traction is improved a little bit.
I didn’t make the jump to the version with Outdry, mostly for the above mentioned awesome color reasons, which I might wind up regretting. Some of my fall hikes have had just short sections of snow where my feet stayed mostly dry but if I would have had the waterproofing power of Outdry I probably wouldn’t have gotten damp at all.
I have a foot just a touch on the wide side and these fit me great. I found that they run pretty true to size (I often have to size down a half size in Columbia footwear).
These will be my go-to hikers for all of 2015 (and yes, I’m thinking about buying more, including a pair with Outdry) and I totally recommend them for most, if not all, of your hiking needs.
These shoes were provided by Columbia Sportswear to 3Up Adventures as a part of the #omniten program for use and review. All opinions are mine. (Seriously, I do love these shoes.)